Why now is the time to invest in craft

Liana Heath, CEO of Artisan, discusses the impact of investing in craft.

The very premise of investing in something today is to gain a return that is of equal or greater value than the invested dollar. This return can be financial, social or other. So when we look at investing in craft, what are we looking for that is of value?

I believe we are moving into a time where people are searching more and more for objects, interiors and spaces that reflect their individual values and aesthetic. Artisanship of all persuasions is being embraced as an alternative or response to the mass-produced products that can permeate our surroundings. Whether it be the "paddock to plate" phenomenon of the food movement or the rise of the global maker movement of crafters, the desire to "know your maker" or "be the maker" has never been stronger. With so much choice, the power is in our hands like never before, to choose how we curate our lives based on what is important to us. Something about craftsmanship speaks to this desire for power and value in our lives.

When we look at the craft landscape of producers and buyers and the intersection of both, it can be argued that the conditions for connecting have never been more promising. For buyers, there is more choice on offer and the channels to makers have never been more accessible. Makers are exhibiting an exciting self-driven entrepreneurial approach to connecting with buyers, that combines strong artistic integrity with a sharp emphasis on customer focussed designs and price points. Barriers to practising are low, with many workshops and online tutorials giving new entrants the ability to upskill at lightning speed with simple marketing channels that gauge customer appetite almost instantly through channels like Instagram and Etsy. It is important to note, that this model works well for many but not all. The master craftspeople that hone their skills over decades and work at the highest levels of technical application deserve to be in a league of their own and often face more complex challenges around balancing affordable production processes with more refined market prospects.

The very notion of "investing" in craft implies an expectation of future return, so what flow on impacts does a dollar invested in a maker generate? Here a few ideas that come to mind.

It gives you as the consumer a treasured piece with meaning that last longer than a cheap "run of the mill" object.

It supports a sole operator or small business, that is of our place and reflects our local identity.

At a philosophical level, it ultimately advocates for a slower, more considered, and humanistic approach to the creation of objects that surround our lives. And that, in today's world of mass production and seemingly inevitable trajectory towards homogenisation, appears to be a valuable balancing element worth investing in.

Liana Heath is the CEO of Artisan in Queensland.